Pope Francis tells Congress: "I am son of this great continent" - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Pope Francis tells Congress: "I am son of this great continent"

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Pope Francis has opened his historic speech to Congress by describing himself as a "son of this great continent" joined in common purpose with America.

The Argentine-born pope is the first from the Americas. And his speech to Congress is the first by any pontiff.

A bipartisan group of congressional leaders escorted him up the aisle for his speech in the House chamber, as tens of thousands waited outside.

With a handshake and a smile, House Speaker John Boehner has welcomed Pope Francis to his ornate ceremonial office in the Capitol prior to the first papal address to Congress in history.

The Ohio Republican told Francis, "Your Holiness, welcome, really glad that you're here."

Boehner's eyes moistened as the pope told him he was glad to be there, too.

The two men then sat next to each other, accompanied by Vatican and church officials and Boehner aides.

Boehner told the pontiff that his staff had urged him to wear the green tie he was sporting. That drew a compliment from Francis, delivered through an interpreter.

The interpreter told Boehner, "He says it's a tie with the color of hope."

Before the pope's arrival, Boehner told those waiting with him that the pope's visit was "a big deal" for him, as a Catholic.
 

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  WASHINGTON (AP) -- The first pope from the Americas is ready to elevate to sainthood an 18th-century missionary who brought Catholicism to California.
  
Pope Francis plans to canonize Junipero Serra during a Mass on Wednesday outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. It's the first time that a pope will elevate someone to sainthood on U.S. soil.


The pope announced in January that Serra would be canonized. The Franciscan friar from Spain is revered by Catholics for his missionary work. Francis fast-tracked Serra's canonization by eliminating the need to show proof of two miracles.
  
Serra's canonization is controversial, especially in California, where Native Americans say he wiped out indigenous populations, enslaved converts and spread disease.
  
Francis will celebrate the Mass in Spanish.
 

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